Basma Lachkar and Ang Guat Lian with their coaches. – WUSHU FEDERATION OF BRUNEI DARUSSALAM
BY Fadhil Yunus
BRUNEI Darussalam’s wushu athlete Basma Lachkar is in firm contention of attaining a podium finish after moving into the medal position with 9.68 points in the Women’s Taijiquan event at the 18th Asian Games at the Jakarta International Expo at Jakarta, Indonesia Sunday.
The country’s youngest representative currently sits in joint third place alongside Vietnam’s exponent Thi Khanh Ly Tran and a similar result or better could spark euphoria to the nation.
Basma’s national teammate Ang Guat Lian ended the round in seventh place but is also in the running of bagging a medal with 9.66 points not far off from the pacesetters.
The national wushu athletes are joined by fine company with other competitors having already proven in the world stage and across the continent.
Indonesia hope and world champion Lindswell Kwok currently leads the chasing pack with 9.75 points while Hong Kong’s Juanita Mok Uen-ying, a bronze medallist in the World University Games, trailed closely behind in second place with 9.71 points.
Despite the positioning, wushu athletes are only halfway through with the Women’s Taijijian event which is recognised as a medal event completing the all-around discipline.
The Women’s Taijijian event will also determine the final placings of the podium as athletes make last-ditch efforts to seek for perfection in their pursuit of gold medal success.
Brunei Darussalam will be gunning for a historic fifth medal at the Asian Games with their final medal coming in the 2002 Asian Games in Busan when Tong Kit Siong was awarded bronze in karate.
Indonesia world champion Lindswell, who headlines the wushu circuit and a gold medal favourite, expressed her optimism of landing the gold medal for the hosts despite being surrounded by strong opponents.
“There is still tomorrow (Monday). Today we have just concluded the elimination round. All are tough opponents, especially wushu athletes from Hong Kong, Vietnam, Malaysia, Brunei Darussalam and also Japan. They’re very good,” she told Indonesian magazine Tempo.
Basma and Ang will return to the court in the Women’s Taijijian today (10am Brunei time) knowing that a place in history is in their sights if they make one final push.
The wushu team is accompanied by national head coach Li Hui and he said, “I’m happy with the performances of both athletes. I hope they will do their best in today’s event.”
Meanwhile, Md Sufi Shayiran Roslan and Md Adi Salihin Roslan will begin their campaign in the Men’s Nanquan at the same venue today (Sunday).
-- Courtesy of Borneo Bulletin